Friday, April 9, 2010

Visit to Horn Press

Another beacon of book arts in Southern California, the Horn Press at UCLA, has been revived by Johanna Drucker in the School of Information Studies. We had the pleasure of visiting the press with members of the Southern California chapter of the American Printing History Association (APHA). In a little room on the fourth floor of the Broad Arts Center, one lovely old Vandercook SP15 sits in front of a window flanked by cases of type that fill the rest of the small space.

The press room is like a tiny berry bursting with the energy and brilliance of Johanna Drucker and her dedicated students. Johanna and her press just moved in last summer. They're energized and open to new ideas. Students have been crowding into the little press room creating exquisite corpse poems based on randomly selected themes. This is something we've enjoyed here at Lettre Sauvage along with the question and answer game in which half the printers set a questions and the other half answers to be randomly paired. Both of these are long-standing surrealist practices.

The image above is an amazing metal die- an uncatalogued item from the collection of the founder, Andrew Harlis Horn. This is clearly about an animal and a man caught in a primal relationship. The sheep (or goat) seems to see the man, while the man walks with his staff, his hood too low to watch the mountains and see the sheep. The water and air are impossibly one. Both figures -man and beast- absolutely dwarf civilization in a most romantic way.

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